Photo by Teri Shore

Planning Geyserville’s Future

At the suggestion of Geyserville resident and Greenbelt Alliance board member Michele Stratton, the Geyserville Planning Committee recently invited Regional Director Teri Shore to provide a review of the open space and planning policies that will inform their new community plan and help manage development pressures.

The hamlet of Geyserville is a sweet spot to make a stop when exploring the northern reaches of Sonoma County. While the downtown is only a couple of blocks long, the community spans about 190 acres of rich farmland along the Russian River.

The town, situated between Healdsburg to the south and Cloverdale to the north, is incredibly scenic, with Geyser Peak rising to the sky above vineyards that seem to go on forever. The famous geysers that generate ample clean electricity are found high on the flanks of Geyser Peak

Now, the tight-knit community of about 1,500 people is embarking on a new community plan that will help them develop a vision for the future as sprawl development pressures rise.

The Geyserville Planning Committee, which has a long history as an independent body, is elected by residents at their annual meeting, held most recently on April 24, 2018.

Its mission is to to facilitate communication between county officials and local residents, businesses, and the general public on local planning and land use decisions affecting the unincorporated Town of Geyserville.

New community separators were established all around Geyserville in 2016, protecting adjacent farm lands from intense development. The surrounding lands are important for wildlife and plant habitat, drinking water, and groundwater, according to the Bay Area Greenprint Tool.

Even so, about 100 acres of open space within two miles of town are at high or medium risk of development. For example, a proposal for a new gas station and fast food outlets on undeveloped natural land along the highway at the edge of town was recently halted due to residents’ concerns about spoiling the rural character of the area.

To prevent such conflicts, the Geyserville Planning Committee plans to map out what types of residences, businesses and services the residents want to attract. They are on track to complete the community plan in time to incorporate it into the update of the Sonoma County General Plan, expected to get going next year.

Photo: Teri Shore

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